Ashrei is a special prayer formed from three different psalms. The main body is Psalm 145 and there are verses added from Psalms 84 and 144. Ashrei contains words of recognition praising G-d, Who prepares sustenance for all living beings. It is written in the order of the Alef-Beis, which is the order of the entire universe. This Psalm represents the belief that all is in its proper order as divined by Hashem (Reb Tzadok, Tzidkas HaTzadik 208).
The Talmud (B’rachos 4b) states that one who recites this psalm three times a day is assured of a place in the World to Come. In order for a person to achieve true perfection, a person must prepare himself in two ways: Firstly, he must realize that there is an order to the universe and that everything is in a specific order divined by Hashem. Secondly, he must not be distracted with material concerns and worries. Ashrei addresses both of these issues: It is written as an acrostic to represent the Divine order of the universe, and it also contains the verse “Posei’ach es yadecha–(You [God] open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing,” which is an acknowledgment of Hashem’s power to sustain all life in the world.
Rav Shlomo Wolbe writes in his book Alei Shur that the effectiveness of a t’filah is not dependent on whether the person praying is a tzadik or a rasha. Rather, it is dependent on how sincere the person is. As it says in Ashrei, “Hashem (G-d) is close to all who call out to Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” The sincerity of a prayer is a function of how much emotion and emunah is invested in it. We must recognize that Hashem is right in front of us, listening to every word, and can help in an instant. There is no one else besides Him who could help.
To add names of individuals who need a r’fuah sh’leimah to next week’s
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List of People Who Need a R’fuah Sh’leimah
(Please recite Psalms 91, 102, 103, 121, and 130.)
Chaim Avraham ben Shifrah Ziesel
Tinok ben Moriah T’mimah
Kasriel ben Esther
Yisrael Meir ben Daphne Bruriah
Leah Nacha bas Esther Bryna
Esther Hadassah bas Devorah
Yafah bas Monavar
Yosef David ben Sarah Rosha
Chayah Sarah bas Tziporah Svetta
Eliyahu ben Hertzel
Yaron ben Doris
Avraham ben Perel Leah Babtza
Elisheva bas Miriam
David Chayim ben Leah
Elisheva bas Miriam